According to a recent study, becoming a mother can alter the body right down to the marrow.
A study released this week in PLOS One found that pregnant female monkeys had decreased amounts of the minerals calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus in their bones, revealing for the first time new ways that pregnancy and lactation alter females.
The lead author and doctoral student at New York University Paola Cerrito said in a news release that “our findings provide additional evidence of the profound impact that reproduction has on the female organism, further demonstrating that the skeleton is not a static organ, but a dynamic one that changes with life events.”
According to the National Primate Research Centers, the study examined the bones of rhesus macaques, also known as rhesus monkeys, who have 93% of our genes. They have been employed in studies that have opened the way for numerous medical innovations, including as medicines for HIV/AIDS, and they are also employed in studies of Alzheimer’s disease.
Bone health, which is correlated with calcium and phosphorus levels, is known to be impacted by menopause for a long time. This most recent study does not address the impact of pregnancy and lactation on bone health, but it does highlight how the condition of bones is always changing as a result of life experiences.
According to Cerrito’s research, the skeleton reacts dynamically to changes in reproductive status even before fertility declines. Furthermore, these findings confirm that having a child has a major impact on a woman’s body; to put it simply, reproduction is “written in the bones” for the duration of a person’s life.